How To Tell If A Spaghetti Squash Is Ripe

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Last Updated on October 28, 2022

Spaghetti squash is one of the most popular types of squash that gardeners grow. If you have some growing in your garden, you will want to know how to tell if spaghetti squash is ripe. This will help ensure you are picking it when it is at its peak.

Spaghetti squash is versatile and goes great in many different dishes. When cooked, the inside can be shredded into “noodles” making it a great alternative to traditional pasta. It is most commonly prepared by being roasted.

What is Spaghetti Squash?

Spaghetti squash is a type of winter squash that comes in a variety of shapes and is most often yellow, orange or ivory in color. It has a hard exterior and unlike on summer squash, the skin is inedible. It has large seeds, which can be roasted.

Spaghetti squash has a delicate, mild flavor that goes well with different sauces. It has many health benefits as it is a low-calorie food rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is generally an easy plant to grow, which makes it popular among many gardeners.

Though it is often referred to as a vegetable, it is actually a fruit, as are all varieties of squash. There are also different types of spaghetti squash. The most common types include Tivoli, Goldetti, Sugaretti, and Small Wonder.

How To Know When To Pick Spaghetti Squash

How To Know When To Pick Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is generally harvested in early fall before the first winter frost hits, However, it can be picked anytime between August to December, depending on the conditions and when it was planted.

It is typically ready to pick within 90-110 days after planting the seeds or 40-50 days after the blossoms have bloomed. There are several factors that go into knowing when to pick spaghetti squash off the vine.

You want to avoid picking squash unripened or overripened. It must be completely mature when you pick it, as it will not ripen afterward. When it is over-ripe, it will not be edible either.

It is important to note that not all the fruit on your spaghetti squash plant will be ready to harvest at the same time. They will mature at different rates, as some will need more time than others.

Squash Color

One of the best indications on whether to tell if your squash is ready or not is color. Generally, you will want to harvest your squash when it has a bright yellow-golden color. If it is yellow-green, it is not ready yet and if it is deep orange, it is over-ripe.

In addition, if you notice spots, streaks or it is only partially yellow, it is not ready. You will notice a change from pale yellow or green to golden-yellow when they are ready to harvest.

Fingernail Test

The fingernail test is another reliable way to test the readiness of your spaghetti squash. Try to push your fingernails into the skin of the fruit. If the skin is tough and you can not puncture it, then your squash is ready for picking.

If you can make a mark on the skin or puncture it with your nail, then your squash needs more time. If your nail is easily able to go through the skin, it is over-ripe and likely mushy inside.

Dullness Of Skin

As it grows, the skin of the squash will have a glossy appearance. Wait for it to have a dull appearance, as this means that it is ready to pick. Glossiness on the skin is a sign of an immature squash that needs more time to grow.

Vine Dryness

When the vine of the squash turns dry and is brown in color, your squash is ready for harvest. If the vine is still green, then your plant is likely still growing and may not be ripe yet. However, if it passes all the other tests but the vine is still slightly, green, it is likely ready for you to pick it.

Squash Seeds for Planting 5 Individual Packets – Zucchini, Delicata, Butternut, Spaghetti, and Golden Crookneck

Check For Blemishes

When picking your spaghetti squash look for any blemish on the fruit. Examine it for bruises, soft spots, black discoloration, and mold. If any of these are visible, it is likely that the fruit is over-ripe.

How To Store Spaghetti Squash

After you harvest it, spaghetti squash has a long shelf life. You can keep it in a dry, cool area that is 60 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler for up to three months. You can also keep it at room temperature for up to one month, as long it is kept away from sunlight.

You can store whole spaghetti squash in your fridge for up to two weeks, however, it will go bad faster due to the higher moisture levels in your fridge. Once you slice open your squash, store any leftovers covered in plastic wrap or an airtight container in the fridge for up to three to five days.

 Can You Freeze Spaghetti Squash?

You can freeze cooked spaghetti squash. Allow it to dry completely after you cook it and pat any excess moisture off of it. Then, transfer it to an airtight container or a Ziploc bag, getting rid of as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.

You can store it in the freezer for seven to eight months. Once you are ready to eat it, thaw it in the fridge for a few hours or reheat it directly from the freezer.

Can You Freeze Spaghetti Squash


What happens if you pick spaghetti squash too early?

If you pick it before the vines have reached full maturity, then the squash will be smaller. It is best to wait until the vines have formed a canopy over the plant. The fruit will then be larger and will hold up better when cooked. 

Can you eat spaghetti squash before it is ripe?

Spaghetti squash is one of the most versatile vegetables in the world. You can use it as a base for soups, stews, casseroles, quiches, pasta dishes, and even pizzas. However, you must wait until the squash is fully ripe before you eat it.

What is the best way to store spaghetti squash?

Store in a plastic bag or container in the refrigerator. You can also freeze spaghetti squash for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen squash overnight in the refrigerator before using. Spaghetti squash is a summer staple on my dinner table. It's so easy to prepare and I can add it to almost any recipe that calls for a squash. I usually make spaghetti squash with pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese. It's a delicious combination!

What color should spaghetti squash be inside?

The outside is bright orange, but the inside is yellow. The inside will have a yellow/greenish color because that's the way the seeds look when they're developing.

How do you know when squash is ready to eat?

The first thing to do is to look at the skin. It should be a nice golden color, and not be discolored. Squash can be stored for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. You may choose to freeze it for longer storage. When you take it out of the freezer, thaw it completely. Do not let it sit at room temperature.

Is spaghetti squash green before turning yellow?

It is normal for the green skin of a fresh squash to turn yellow as it ripens. I would not worry about it. If you peel the squash and cut it open, you will see that the inside is yellow and ripe.

How big should squash be before picking?

The smallest can be about 2 inches in diameter, the medium, about 3 inches in diameter, and the largest, about 5 inches in diameter. It can be from 8 to 12 inches long.

When should spaghetti squash be planted?

There are two ways you can plant your spaghetti squash: You can plant them in spring or fall. If you plant them in spring, it is best to direct seed them because the plants will be much stronger and more likely to survive the winter. Plant them in a sunny area with good drainage and keep them well watered. If you plant them in fall, they will need a greenhouse or cold frame to overwinter.
The squash grows best when the soil temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees during the day and 50 to 55 at night. It will do better if there is no rain or if there is only a light sprinkle of rain. The squash can be harvested after it has matured for about four months.

The Importance Of Knowing How To Tell If A Spaghetti Squash Is Ripe

To ensure it will test its best, you will want to know when spaghetti squash is ready to pick. Too early and it won’t ripen off the vine and too late it will not be edible.

It should be golden-yellow in color with a dull appearance. You should not be able to puncture the skin with your fingernail and the vine will likely be brown and dull.

Do you have any questions regarding how to tell if spaghetti squash is ripe? If so, please ask any questions regarding this winter squash and when to harvest it in the comment section below.

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